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          the first rotation can be subject to influence from the   Questions should be grouped by topics and prog-
          following rotations. In addition, respondents using sat-  ress in a logical manner beginning with questions that
          isficing behaviors are less apt to expend mental energy   engage the respondents and keep them interested.
          to remember events. Therefore, in this example, gath-  Lead-in statements are helpful in focusing a respon-
          ering information after each rotation improves result   dent’s thoughts.  For example, respondents could be
          reliability. Evaluations can be gathered as students   asked to consider the time spent in the clinic before
          progress in a formative manner and leave an overall   questions specific to clinics are asked in a sequence that
          summative assessment upon graduating.              is mindful of the assimilation and contrast effect.

          Making a Judgment                                  Reporting
            Once respondents understand a question and recall   In the final step, respondents answer the question
          the information, they can render judgment. The survey   based on the type of question and the answer options
          design also can influence respondents’ judgment. The   provided. Surveys primarily rely on open-ended or
          way questions are ordered can influence whether assim-  closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions are
          ilation effects or contrast effects occur. 5       useful in identifying factors not addressed in the survey
            Assimilation effects occur when judgment from pre-  and can be helpful if the closed-ended question does
          vious questions is taken into consideration for a current   not include the best answer for a particular respondent.
          question.  Assimilation effects is a continuous conver-  Because respondents using satisficing behaviors might
          sation in which several specific, related questions are   not take the time to write a response, open-ended ques-
          asked before a general question is asked. For example,   tions should be used sparingly to solicit additional
          when assessing the satisfaction of a clinical rotation,   information from closed-ended questions. Closed-ended
          a survey might begin with specific questions such as   questions are common and often provide answer
          helpfulness of technologists, variety of examinations,   options in formats such as multiple choice, ranking, or
          and friendliness of technologists. Specific questions are   a Likert scale, which uses a numerical range and defines
          asked before a general question about overall satisfac-  the endpoints. For example, ask respondents to indicate
          tion. This sequence of questions relies on judgments   how helpful their clinical instructor was using a scale of
          made from the specific questions to answer the general   1 to 5, in which 1 is not helpful and 5 is very helpful. For
          question. In essence, the general question asks respon-  the most accurate representation, the option should have
          dents to take all the factors into consideration and   3 to 5 choices.  Regardless of the answer format, respon-
          provide an overall impression.                     dents should have a thorough but limited list of options.
            Contrast effects do not consider previous judg-     Another debatable issue is the inclusion of a mid-
          ments because they are deemed irrelevant as a      point, or neutral, option. Eliminating the neutral option
          standard for comparison.  Contrast effects might be   has been shown to force respondents to make a deci-
          seen when respondents perceive that the general ques-  sion, reduces the misuse of the neutral option, and
          tion is asking for information on a topic not answered   minimizes social desirability bias in which respondents
          previously.  For example, asking respondents first   provide answers to please the researcher instead of pro-
          about their satisfaction with their first clinical place-  viding a socially unacceptable answer. 11,12  Whenever a
          ment and then about their overall satisfaction with the   definite answer cannot be given, respondents using sat-
          program might lead to a contrast effect. The respon-  isficing methods are more inclined to select the neutral
          dent might interpret the general question as a request   option and avoid a riskier answer; therefore, the neutral
          for new information aside from what has already been   option can be eliminated.  Conversely, some literature
          reported.  Consequently, the judgment from the     states that the neutral option is not misused and does
          first clinical rotation could be deemed unrelated to   not impact social desirability bias.  The neutral might
          program satisfaction and might produce greater differ-  be an option for respondents who otherwise would edit
          ences in judgments.                                the most appropriate response to avoid embarrassment.

          RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY, January/February 2021, Volume 92, Number 3                               299
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